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Credit to: Instinct Magazine

RuPaul’s Drag Race is continuing to pound the pavement with its seven remaining contestants after this lackluster episode of “Snatch Game” where Derrick continued to do the same thing every week to no affect and we are left wondering how awesome Cynthia Lee Fontaine would’ve been.  Speaking of Cynthia, she is the one contestant so far this season that I think has been considered underrated, in terms of just how amazing her potential is.  Getting eliminated for a role that wasn’t going to be funny no matter how you acted it (Empire challenge), she had a lot left to give and wasn’t given the chops or the TV time in order to prove how great she is.  This can be said for the Top 10 list that I’ve created of queens that had a lot going for them while on Drag Race, but were overshadowed for so many different reasons.  Some of these queens in my book could’ve gone the distance or even won the whole damn thing, but alas… didn’t.  This is who I think deserved to get a lot more than they did, and who I root for to this very day.

Credit to: Drag Official
Credit to: Drag Official

10. Stacy Layne Matthews

I found the shade factor against Stacy very hilarious in her season, considering most of the girls who threw shade at her were eliminated before or right after she was (Phoenix, Delta Work).  She had a lot working against her, weight taken out of it.  Because she was soft spoken in a group of “Halleloos” and “Heathers”, it landed her in the bottom early on when it really shouldn’t have as she blossomed in so many challenges and rightfully won Snatch Game with her impression of Mo’Nique.  I’m still baffled that she went home for the cake challenge when her outfit didn’t look that bad compared to one who had bloomers showing the whole time (and that person won the challenge).  Stacey was a formidable player that I still don’t think really got the recognition she deserved.

Credit to: Joslyn Fox
Credit to: Joslyn Fox

9. Joslyn Fox

With Season 6 being chock full of some incredible and amazingly talented queens, it became hard for anyone to really get out of the Bianca-Courtney-Adore-Ben spotlight for more than a minute.  Joslyn was a great player that season, but her story became more about her adoration of Courtney Act which turned sour as the season went on.  She excelled like crazy in so many challenges like the rapping challenge (which she should’ve gotten way more credit than she did), Snatch Game as Teresa Giudice, and the reading mini-challenge where she slayed the house down.  To her credit, she made it all the way to the final six over some very talented queens, but I wish they would’ve given her a better edit as she was a force to be reckoned with.

Credit to: Dragnearyou.com
Credit to: Dragnearyou.com

8. Ivy Winters

I had Ivy Winters pegged as a front runner from the first episode, due to her amazing costume construction, great performances in challenges, and overall likability in a season where most of the girls were just god awful to each other.  Here’s the problem- she’s mainly remembered for RuPaul saying “IVY WINTERSSSSSSSSSSSSSS”, which even when she tried to justify it at the reunion still fell on deaf ears, especially with LaToya Jackson who the saying was inspired by.  For Ivy to be eliminated in the perfume challenge, seeing as I don’t even think hers was the worst of the bunch (cough cough Roxxxy), and to lose over Alyssa, who was performing horribly week after week, really was a bummer.

Credit to: Drag Official
Credit to: Drag Official

7. Tatianna

A lot of people really went in on Tatianna for making it past fan favorites in Jessica Wild and Pandora Boxx, however unlike Rebecca Glasscock, she earned herself a spot in the end as she was a consistent performer who only was in the bottom two or three twice in the entire competition, outside of her elimination.  Love Juju and Raven, but they had just the same amount of times if not more in the bottom.  Tatianna shut her haters up, similarly to Stacey, when she won the Snatch Game challenge as Britney Spears, an impersonation that fared way better than the basic girl that did it this season.  I am really hopeful that she will be on All Stars as she should be on the same level as some of the other girls that were in her season in terms of fame.

Credit to: Youtube
Credit to: Youtube

6. Tammie Brown

This is where my problem with Drag Race truly rises, is that it becomes cookie cutter a lot of times in terms of being put in a box of what drag really is.  Tammie was so far out there and unique, that season one really needed someone like her due to how plain the first season was.  Her zany type of behavior and legendary lines (I don’t see you walking children in nature), should’ve propelled her much further in both S1 and All Stars.  I hope we haven’t seen the last of her as she really is a diamond in the rough in the world of Drag Race.

Credit to: Poprevolver.com
Credit to: Poprevolver.com

5. Mariah Balenciaga

When Mariah entered in the werk room on the first episode, I pegged her as someone going the distance as she had the beauty drag look down, more than anyone else on the show at that point.  Her elimination wasn’t really justified for me, as even though her Joan Crawford wasn’t what a lot of us expected, it wasn’t half as bad as Carmen Carrerra’s J. Lo, which brought nothing to that character, or Raja, who even though the Tyra thing was funny, it was just the same joke each answer with nothing new.  Mariah was a formidable threat to really win the whole thing had she made it past Snatch, as her aesthetic and professionalism was on point each episode.  The Emancipation will happen one day for her, I hope.

Credit to: Instinct Magazine
Credit to: Instinct Magazine

4. Milk

Milk was another queen that was wrongfully judged in her season by queens who kind of did the same thing over and over again (Darienne, Gia).  While those girls were very glamour heavy, Milk went the opposite way with her unique style, highlighting wearing a suit as a drag piece, a beard, and rocking the pregnant look for the Tony Awards realness, where half the other girls looked like they were going to prom.  I kind of understand why she went home for the rapping challenge, especially against Trinity, but even in a forte that wasn’t hers she still rocked it with her funny dancing and great lyrics.  I for one, am ready for another tall glass of her.

Credit to: Manhattan Digest
Credit to: Manhattan Digest

3. Phi Phi O’Hara

Oh Phi Phi, boy did she come across as the villain.  If you took out a lot of the bullshit that happened that season, Phi Phi really was just a serious competitor who took the whole “This isn’t RuPaul’s Best Friend Race” thing to a level that bothered the millions of people who watched it.  On the contrary, she really dominated in every challenge that she was given and was really only in the bottom two with Sharon that week as a fake out to get Willam off the show.  For all the haters that said she didn’t deserve to be in the top three… take a closer look on that season.  She really did.

Credit to: Youtube
Credit to: Youtube

2. Pandora Boxx

For all the people that got mad at me for not including Pandora in the other Top 10 article, there was a reason why.  I was saving her for this.  Yes, she was a great competitor in season 2, but was overshadowed a lot in challenges that she should’ve won in.  It is still a toss up to this day about who should’ve won Snatch Game, however her version of Carol Channing is still one of the best the show has ever had, and much better than my homegirl Bob did the other night.  The fashion was a bit off, but made her stand out I think in a positive light as she took that criticism and came back to All Stars with a new confidence and sense of fashion that made other legendary queens like Latrice Royale notice upon arrival to the werk room.

Credit to: Spin
Credit to: Spin
  1. Shangela Laquifa Wadley

Shangela was hella underrated for so many reasons by her fellow competitors in season 3, that it made them bringing her back so much more special because she sort of was the original Adore Delano in seeing a queen blossom from newbie to graduate in drag by the time she was ousted in the top 5.  For Season 2, we barely got to see her as she was out the first episode, however her charm, personality and humor got her very far in Season 3, and she was able to take down half of the Heathers while defending herself and her drag each and every episode.  She brought a huge amount of life to S3 that should not go unnoticed.

What do you think about this list?  Is there anyone I missed?

54 COMMENTS

    • Hey Sabrina, no I’m not girl. Read the context in why I included her- so many queens doubted her on that season, even Alexis originally. That’s why she is number one as she proved them wrong and has also been one of the most relevant queens since her season ended.

  1. I like the article and the idea of it and I do agree that most of these Queens were underrated 🙂
    But I wish people would stop complimenting one RPDR girl by putting down another one. Just because they are all drag performers, doesn’t mean they are all in the same box to be compared! Some of your comparisons might come across as a bit mean!
    There isn’t a queen on the show who I dislike, because they all had the talent to get on the show and they all have different personalities, performance styles, fashion choices. For me it’s what they do after RPDR that makes me love them 🙂
    Laganja was underrated on the show, she came across as a bit annoying, a bit bitchy and slightly arrogant, but now she’s one of my favourite queens from the show, so talented and funny and sweet 🙂

  2. Other thank Milk, this is obviously a booger fan based fictional article, and totally not to mention biased. Common, really, really … Stacy Layne and Tatianna … really, somebody needs to go back to drag school and rewatch the episodes. Just because you can write, doesnt mean you should … all T, all SHADE!

    • Oh my god Jerry I’m so offended. Thanks for clicking and giving me dat traffic boo!

  3. I think you may have lost all credibility by including Tammie Brown in this list. She is a true original for sure, but that doesn’t mean that she deserved to go further. She gave up completely in season one and gave a lousy performance on Allstars. Also, Mariah gave a better Snatch Game Performance than Raja??? This is definitely news to ALL of the Drag Race fans.

    • Hey Dylan- what I meant is Raja was repeating the same thing over and over again and using it as a crutch. There was nothing else, and even Shangela noticed it on “Untucked”.

  4. Milk sucks… really? I know people love her for her quirky looks, but being quirky doesn’t make you into a great drag queen. This list is everything, but Milk? No. Also, pandora is working with the BOTS queens, so she isn’t underrated at all. I ALSO know people love milk since she’s so “hot” out of drag. Personalitywise she is also effin’ boring.
    Also Ivy Winters should NOt be there. talented at making clothes, but she is just flat out boring.
    Maria is just ghetto, which I love, but not underrated!
    I can names a few queens that shoul be there instead:

    – Trinity K Bonet
    – Morgan McMichaels
    – Delta Work
    – Jiggly Caliente
    – Kasha Davis
    – Laganja Estranja
    – Gia Gunn
    – Tempest DuJour

    aaaand for the new queens
    – Acid Betty
    – Chi Chi DeVayne

  5. I think to do this day lashaun beyond was very underrated she killed the first challenge in the top with the drag apocalypse look and she brought the drama with jiggly in untucked her wrestling performance wasn’t great but I actually liked her runway that week and the princess was nothing special to eliminate her and she’s a great costume designer what do you think of her? And I agree with you on shangela

  6. I think to do this day lashaun beyond was very underrated she killed the first challenge in the top with the drag apocalypse look and she brought the drama with jiggly in untucked her wrestling performance wasn’t great but I actually liked her runway that week and the princess was nothing special to eliminate her and she’s a great costume designer what do you think of her? And I agree with you on shangela and Tatiana they got alot of flack unjustified

  7. I have a small impression that you don’t like Raja and when you write articles like this, you should not express any preference/dislike towards another contestant cause it seems like you’re being more like a bitter fan and less racional about it, if you get what i mean. Agree about Stacy even though you can’t tell me that outfit was any better than Raja’s outfit (Which was perfectly constructed btw). Disagree about Milk she’s hella overrated by the fans. Other than that, nice article 😉

    • I love Raja, however I don’t think she should’ve won the competition and the show. Doesn’t mean I don’t like her.

  8. I disagree with your understanding of the word “underrated”. For example Shangela was given to chances by Rupaul herself, has a lots of fans after Drag Race and made a great career. She was only critisized and doubted by the other comptetitors, which is quite understandable, because it’s a competition. With this logic you can say that Violet and Pearl are”underrated”, because Ginger thught that they had no talent and only looks. But they were top three! There are many talented queens, that didn’t have enough time to show what they were capable of (like Tempest or April, why they were not given second chance like Naysha or Shangela?) or that are not popular among people, but Shangela, Phi Phi, Milk… No gurl. They are pretty popular.

  9. I think Tempest Dejour is by a long long long mile, the most underated queen in Rupaul herstory.
    I instantly loved her the second she walked into the work room, and looked her giant cartoon woman style. yeah her naked look was iffy-though it was a rubbish challenge, but she had waaaaaay more to offer than Kandy Ho. Even that song she was given to lipsych to was awful. She would have killed at the acting challenges and at snatch game…sigh
    anyway, maybe she’ll redeem herself on all stars….go on Ru. Hire a first out girl

  10. I know she’s still a fan favorite from season 1, but I still think Nina Flowers doesn’t get the love she deserves. I still think she’s one of the most original and talented people to have ever been on the show.

  11. Great list . Agree with most though Pandy and Ivy both won Miss Congeniality so they have been appreciated. I kinda thought Jade Jolie had much more potential.

  12. Trixie should/could have been on either one of your lists! Perhaps you’re saving her for something else?

  13. I’ve been completely blown away by Morgan McMichaels everytime I’ve seen her perform. Her talent was for the most part lost in her season and she was portrayed somewhat as a frivolous queen. She is a FIERCE performer and one hell of a queen.

  14. Tempest Dujour is the biggest underrated queen, whenever Ru brings someone back I hope it’s her and she pulled whatever queen she was lumped with through that episode in her season when she came back

  15. I really enjoyed this article. I think you were balanced and really provided thoughtful arguments for your choices. You also didn’t bow to fan favorites. I do think that everyone’s attitude with Milk was more about his looks as a boy. He seemed more like a club kid who was elevated to drag race and on for drama rather than someone who was vying to actually win. I also think that Seasons 1-3 were rigged with one specific winner in mind each time. I think had Sharon Needles not come out so likable in the edits and had there not been so many leaks about the winner in the past, Chad Michaels would have walked away with the crown…which he did in All-Stars.

  16. I think you missed two amazing queens who don’t get nearly as much credit as they deserve:
    1. Trinity K. Bonet, who recently said on Instagram that while other RPDR queens get to tour the world, she is struggling to get gigs. Her looks were awesome and consistent, and in the end she really excelled, like in the comedy stand-up challenge for example.
    and 2. Lineysha Sparx: ok, I don’t think she was able to excel in a lot of challenges which I feel is due to her English, but her COSTUMES were divine, yet noboy’s ever talking about her.

  17. Great topic! ! Laganja is so underrated it’s sad. To this day there are many fans who trash anything she does no matter how awesome it is. And the amount of hate she got from fans during Season 6 was crazy! Sure she had a total meltdown on her season, but that just makes her post -Drag Race career all the more impressive. Still, many fans will never like anything she does mainly b/c of how she was edited on the show and b/c she was an easy target for Bianca’s insults.

    • I enjoyed Laganja – really thought that she brought it to the runway especially. Season 6 would definitely have been the poorer without her – and it was a strong lineup.

  18. I’d have to include Ongina here, I think. 🙂 The first queen on the show that I completely fell for after discovering RPDR on Netflix (I’m in the UK, and it’s only recently started airing over here), and after all this time she’s still my favourite. I was heartbroken that she didn’t get further!

  19. Ooh, gurrrl, you did get a lot of panties in a twist. While I do love RDR, I am not so naive to believe the editing showcases each queen equitably. Perhaps there is an underlying agenda from jump? Oh, say it ain’t so. Since MamaRu holds absolute control over every decision, I would suggest that this includes who gets painted in what light during the editing process. As a ‘icon’ which, by definition, represents an ideal, RuPaul herself has become somewhat predictable, a brand, if you will. She has earned it. I watch this show for the (s)heroes who put their fears aside, every show, to give their best, to inspire us to not let the opinions of others dominate us. Each one of them is a Warrior, Courageous, whether we ourselves individually like or dislike them. To me, they each challenge us to be a better, more honest version of ourself. I applaud them all.

  20. Tbh I agree with the list except for Shangela and I’ll explain why. Yes she grew significantly and that’s great but she became bitter mean girl. She was purposely hounding racers she saw as weak so that they would fall out. Granted that’s how you play the game but she was an all around mean girl.
    Like accusing Manila of racism? Really? Then doing a post modern pimp ho herself? She wasn’t underrated, the public just doesn’t like snotty mean girls and there’s nothing wrong with that. I think you may have put her as number 1 on purpose to get people riled up because you knew it would.

  21. This is great. I absolutely by far agree with you. Shangella was by far one queen who should of got more credit then she revieved. Yes she got to come back and prove herself again but I’m sorry had way more talent then Carmen, Raju, always attacking her and trying to discredit her drag. Yes Raju may be good at painting, and costumes, but Shangella is a performer and continues to shut the house down when she does perform. Last but not least Tatianna was my favorite from day one on that season and you could tell everyone saw her as a threat. Her Britney was by far way way better then Derricks that’s for sure.

  22. Jade Jolie. She is literally amazing. I’m friends with her and she’s grown SOOOOO much! She has so much potential.

  23. I met TJ (Shangela) quite accidentally when I was staying in NYC on a business trip with my husband. He just happened to be staying at the same hotel because he was playing Fire island a few nights that week. He’s even 2X more charming and full of humility in person. What a great person and he is truly a great performer and most improved overall IMHO. Any time I she Shangie now, she is absolutely STUNNING. S.I.C.K.E.N.I.N.G!

  24. Sahara Davenport (I’m sad just typing her name). She had so much talent, and didn’t deserve to get eliminated when she did. I think she epitomizes a queen that was underrated at her time.

  25. Sahara
    Lashawn beyond
    April carrion
    Definitely agree with Mariah and milk but not ivy winters she was so boring and deserved to go home for that Marilyn Monroe performance on snatch game
    For this season chichi is being very underrated she should have been top 3 this week that Madonna look was everything and she made it that day !

  26. I disagree with pretty much your whole list. While some of the girls were good competitors, I felt all needed to sashay away when they did. I was glad to see them go when they did as I felt they had reached a point of no return with various categories. Girl, Bye.

  27. Stacey Lane Matthews? Really? Have you seen her live? She is AWFUL and lazy. Bitch barely moved from the stage entrance to get her damn tips. All the queens the nights I saw her put on three shows each and all the other girls put on great high energy performances, had different costumes for each song and everything.Stacey was lackluster and relying on her Drag Race fame to be there. Her only outfit change was putting on a different colored oversized velvet shirt,was wearing the same hideous shoes Darienne Lake wore her whole season,she even left on the same knotted up wig that severally needed brushing the whole night. It was a fucking mess. She was supposed to be the headliner but all of the opening girls were far better and more professional than she was.

  28. Sorry but no. Stacy and cynthia should definitely not be on the list. They were underrated for a reason. Stacy’s drag was a mess. The outfits were awful she should have never made the cast. And as for cynthia the runway could have saved her. Yes maybe her role in the challenge wasbt the best but she missed jokes. Had no idea what she was saying. It was time for her to go to too.

  29. Cynthia Lee Fontaine – Totally underrated (she sings opera and we didn’t get to see that!), she can benefit of having a fashion stylist though.

    Stacey Layne Matthews – Underrated, her soft and gentle personality was seen as weak by A type personalities in her season. She’s very talented but I also think she doubted herself a lot due to the hawks in the workroom.

    Pandora Boxx – I don’t find her funny, at all, sure she have some good lines here and there but… nah. As far as being underrated, I don’t think so she’s doing very well after the show ended.

    Shangela? Underrated? Everybody loves her in amd after the show. She’s also another queen that is doing great still. She may have been underrated by other queens while in the show but only there.

    Phi Phi O’Hara may had been hated by many in her season but after all these years she have matured and blossomed into a VERY creative queen with impeccable costumes, cos play, shows (when she played different RPDR queens in the cruise) and strong social media following. I don’t think she qualifies as underrated.

    Talented queens that ARE underrated: Tammy Brown, April Carrion, Shanel, Kenya Michaels, Kennedy Davenport, Neysha Lopez, also Pearl… kidding!!! Pearl? LOL

  30. “after this lackluster episode of “Snatch Game” where Derrick continued to do the same thing every week to no affect” ,… except that the judges loved it and it was Ru’s idea originally. But yeah it was kind of forgettable. Thorgy as MJ was terrific. I wish Acid Betty had pulled off Nancy Grace better — Grace has so many nuances that it would have won the challenge if they had been included. :\ Anyone else think Cynthia Lee Fontaine will probably win Miss Congeniality?

  31. Agree with so much with so much of this list! The shade thrown at Stacy Layne Matthews (which in my opinion shifted from shade into straight up nastiness at times) was heartbreaking because she was adorable and more talented than others on that season. Totally agree about the cake challenge, her outfit was fine. I thought Delta Work’s attacks on Stacy were particularly galling since she just came across as bitter that Stacy was way more interesting and likeable. I’m so glad Delta was eliminated after that travesty of a ‘comedy’ routine.

    The queen I agree the most with on this list, and the one that I consider one of my all time faves is Joslyn Fox. Thank you so much for pointing out her incredible talent and the challenges she excelled in! She definitely didn’t get anywhere near enough credit. Her rap and her Theresa Giudice in particular were fantastic and she was pretty brilliant in all of the challenges – the horror scene (gasp!) also stood out for me. I never thought it was fair that she was judged so harshly in the wedding episode when she clearly had the most awkward groom to work with. My fave queens are Adore and Bianca so I know she was never going to be a winner in that season but in a different season she could have easily been Top 3. Plus she is ridiculously cute and handled the Courtney situation with dignity and grace.

    I loved how RuPaul said Ivy Winters’ name but totally agree that the bit where she had LaToya on to try to explain/justify it was both hilarious and painful to watch!

    Was never sure about Tatianna out of drag as she didn’t always endear herself to people much but her Britney was incredible and probably one of the best Snatch Game characterisations of all time. Agree about Mariah as well. I like Milk but she definitely had to go on the rap week and her Snatch Game was terrible too.

    I love Shangela, I thought the constant questioning of her devotion to drag got really old and other competitors have warranted that kind of doubt much more than her.

  32. Great list! I am so glad you have Phi Phi on here – I COULD NOT stand her during the episodes but after seeing her live several
    times I have totally learned to respect the shit out of her as an artist and performer. The two I think are missing: Laganja and Mimi. I know there is mad shade from all sides at them, but their live performances are life-giving. I never would have thought that about either of them before seeing them live – but damn.

    Side note: people commenting here need to take several seats and cool it with the mud-slinging. People have opinions – get over it.

  33. I have serious love for Shangela – she’s my number one girl ever, but I do miss Alexis Mateo in this list. There was something really sweet and genuine about her that I loved!

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